A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Typography is the study and process of typefaces; how to select, size, arrange, and use them in general. Traditionally, typography was the use of metal types with raised letterforms that were inked and then pressed onto paper. In modern terms, typography today also includes computer display and output.



Attitudes to Web Accessibility

During the summer of 2003, we ran an online questionnaire, conducted interviews and carried out a literature review on Web accessibility. One hundred and seventeen respondents participated and they included designers, information officers and accessibility advocates. This initial set of results are intended to encourage debate on the subject.

Knight, John. Usability News (2003). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Surveys


Attraction to Organizational Culture Profiles: Effects of Realistic Recruitment and Vertical and Horizontal Individualism—Collectivism   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Today's organizations are challenged with attracting, developing, and retaining high-quality employees; thus, many firms seek to improve their recruitment and selection processes. One approach involves using realistic job previews (RJPs) to communicate a balanced view of the organization. The authors explored the effects of organizational culture (hierarchy, market, clan, and adhocracy), recruitment strategy (RJP vs. traditional), and personality (horizontal and vertical individualism—collectivism) on attraction to Web-based organizational profiles using a sample of 234 undergraduate students in a mixed two-factor experimental design. Results indicate that the clan culture is viewed as the most attractive. Traditional versus RJP recruitment produced higher levels of organizational attraction. Finally, predicted relationships between the personality framework of horizontal and vertical individualism—collectivism and organizational attraction were supported.

Gardner, William L., Brian J. Reithel, Richard T. Foley, Claudia C. Cogliser and Fred O. Walumbwa . Management Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Management>Interviewing>Organizational Communication


Attributes of Performance-Centered Systems: What Can We Learn from Five Years of EPSS/PCD Competition Award Winners?   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Reviews briefly the systems that Gery presented in Electronic Performance Support Systems and then focuses on the 19 attributes she subsequently developed to elucidate them. Then examines the 1997–2001 competition award winners in light of these attributes. Doing so, it turns out, both clarifies the attributes and suggests a few new ones.

Marion, Craig. Technical Communication Online (2002). Articles>Content Management>Online



Audacity is a popular sound recorder and audio editor. It is a capable program while still being easy to use. The majority of users are on Windows but the same Audacity source code compiles to run on Linux and Mac too.

Crook, James. Architecture of Open Source Applications, The (2013). Articles>Software>Audio>Open Source


Audacity Tutorial: How to Record and Edit Audio with Audacity

Audacity is a free cross platform multi track audio editing program from Sourceforge.net. It will let you record, edit, and mix an unlimited number of tracks. Audacity runs on Windows (98 through XP), Mac OS X, and Linux.

Guides and Tutorials (2006). Articles>Documentation>Software>Audio


Audience Analysis Overview

In order to compose persuasive, user-centered communication, you should gather as much information as possible about the people reading your document. Your audience may consist of different people who may have different needs and expectations. In other words, you may have a complex audience in all the stages of your document's lifecycle—the development stage, the reading stage, and the action stage.

Purdue University (2012). Articles>Rhetoric>Audience Analysis


Audience Analysis the Easy Way   (Word)

Audience analysis is more often a process of guesswork than of an in-depth inquiry into the mind and activities of the user. In fact, it is pretty easy to analyze your audience without having to do any research. Essentially, there are only two things that technical writers need ask themselves during the audience-analysis phase: what does the user know about the thing I am writing about? And what does the user want to know about the thing I am writing about?

Docsymmetry (2003). Articles>Rhetoric>Audience Analysis


Audience Analysis: Power Tools for Technical Writing

Documents fail for many reasons. One common mistake is to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach to your audience. This works only when generic material, usually of a non-technical nature.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Audience Analysis


Audience and Document Analysis

Before you begin editing a document, try to find out as much as you can about the audience for the document and purpose of the document.

Hollis Weber, Jean. Technical Editors Eyrie (2001). Articles>Writing>Audience Analysis>Rhetoric


Review: Audience is King: The Significance of DITA

The Darwin Information Technical Architecture (DITA) workshop, hosted by the STC Carolina Chapter on Saturday, October 17, taught me one fundamental thing about DITA – that audience is the focus of any good technical writer.

Nubee, Sajdah. Carolina Communique (2015). Articles>Reviews>DITA


Audience Matters   (PDF)   (members only)

By incorporating usability techniques--more commonly used in product design--writers can better understand their audiences and the ways they use (or have problems using) the content. Read on for tips on how to incorporate usability techniques into your work.

Stott, Susan. Intercom (2008). Articles>Writing>Usability>Audience Analysis


Audio Recording of Workshops and Seminars

The AHDS made audio recordings of recent seminars with the aim of transcribing the recordings, and presented them to seminar chairs to facilitate their task of completing reports on each event. This case study looks at some of the issues that occurred as the AHDS recorded and transcribed the material from these seminars. While its findings are based on roundtable seminars, some of them may also be of use to those doing other types of audio recording - interviews, field notes etc.

AHDS (2006). Articles>Collaboration>Multimedia>Audio


Auditing and Enforcing Compliance with Policies and Procedures: Who Is Responsible?

Auditing and enforcing compliance with P&P content should not be the responsibility of a P&P group or included in the job description of a P&P practitioner. However, the charter or job description may state that P&P practitioners are responsible for supporting compliance efforts.

Urgo, Raymond E. Policies and Procedures Authority, The (2008). Articles>Documentation>Standards>Policies and Procedures


Augmented Cognition: A Future for UX?

Augmented cognition is about understanding the state of a user’s brain and using that understanding to manage the user’s interaction with a computer. For example, if a user were receiving too much information in image form to process it effectively, you might trigger an audio alert to ensure that he responds to another pressing matter. In this way, the user avoids becoming overloaded with information and is in a better position to act appropriately.

Hornsby, Peter. UXmatters (2013). Articles>User Experience>Mobile


Auswahl eines Help Authoring Tools

Checkliste der wichtigsten Kriterien für die Auswahl eines Tools zum Erstellen von Software-Dokumentation (Handbücher, Online-Hilfen) - sog. Help Authoring Tools, kurz HAT. Viele Help Authoring Tools können Benutzerhandbücher und Online-Hilfen aus einer gemeinsamen Textquelle heraus generieren (sog. Single Source Publishing).

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. (German) Articles>TC>Software>Help


Auswahl eines Screen Capture Tools

Screenshots oder Screencaptures). Benötigt werden Screenshots in allen Formen von Software-Dokumentation, z.B. für Handbücher, Online-Hilfen, interaktive Demos und Tutorials, aber auch für Webseiten oder Broschüren.

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. (German) Articles>TC>Help>Screen Captures


Auswahl eines Screencasting Tools

Checkliste der wichtigsten Kriterien für die Auswahl eines Tools zum Erstellen interaktiver Software-Demos (engl. Screencasts). Verwendet werden Software-Demos oder Screencasts nicht nur auf Webseiten, sondern häufig auch als Ergänzung zur Technischen Dokumentation für Software: z.B. als eigenständiges Tutorial oder auch als integrativer Bestandteil einer Online-Hilfe oder sonstiger Software-Dokumentation.

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. (German) Articles>TC>Video>Screencasting


Authentic Assessment in Technical Communication Classrooms and Programs: Proposal for an Integrated Framework   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

Given the disconnections between technical communication classroom assessment and professional workplace assessment, the author suggests that technical communication programs learn from workplaces’ best practices to develop authentic classroom assessment and better prepare students for workplace performance. Authentic classroom assessment also generates meaningful student learning evidence, which can be used in outcome-based program reviews for us to reach more comprehensive and accurate assessment of programs’ education success. The article details how this integrated, two-tier framework can be carried out at both the classroom and program levels and discusses its programmatic benefits.

Yu, Han. Programmatic Perspectives (2010). Articles>Education>TC>Assessment


Authentic Behavior in User Testing

Despite being an artificial situation, user testing generates realistic findings because people engage strongly with the tasks and suspend their disbelief.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2005). Articles>Usability>Testing


Author-Friendly Electronic Submission to SGML-based Academic Journal

I and my co-workers developed an author-friendly method for electronic submission to an academic journal, which is published using a SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)-based system. The method uses a style function and RTF (rich text format), and can be used in popular word processing software: Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, PageMaker, etc. The method has been adopted in Bulletin of Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ) since April 1994, which is the monthly English journal of CSJ, and has been published since 1937. The journal has been published in a SGML-based system since January 1993. Our electronic submission method will be included in SIST (Standards for Information of Science and Technology) No. 14 (draft): 'Guideline for electronic submission', which is considered in SIST Committee in Japan, and will be published in near future.

Ishizuka, Hidehiro. ISRDP in Digital Libraries (1997). Articles>Content Management>SGML


Authoring Accessible Documentation

The software application you document is accessibility-compliant, but not the documentation you author? Then read on. With software applications implementing accessibility guidelines, it is only natural that their documentation too should be accessible.

Vairagade, Mugdha. Indus (2010). Articles>Documentation>Accessibility


Authoring and Documentation Workflow Tools for Haitian Creole: A Minority Language

Although research has been conducted by several institutes on how to process written text for minority and vernacular languages, no academic research project thus far seems to have produced a usable, functional, authoring or translation tool for end-user native speakers of these types of languages. On the other hand, a set of software programs has been in the making for twenty years outside of academia.

Mason, Marilyn. TC-FORUM (2000). Articles>Language>Localization>Machine Translation


Authoring Content in XML

XML authoring is the latest mode of electronic communication of content. XML is about freedom: freeing the content, freeing the author.

Albing, Bill. KeyContent.org (2004). Articles>Writing>XML


Authoring Eclipse Help Using DITA

This page contains information about how to use DITA for authoring Eclipse Help.

Eclipsepedia (2007). Articles>Documentation>Content Management>DITA


Authoring for Electronic Delivery   (PDF)

Caterpillar is dramatically changing the way technical, product support information is authored. Book paradigms have been replaced by the more granular Information Element (IE) approach. The new integrated environment utilizes Unix based, TCP/IP connected, ECALS compliant tools on multi-tasking author workstations. Research data, in-process work approved IE's and relational indices are distributed to work group servers. Application software tools include a graphics editor and an interactive, context sensitive, SGML text editor. The environment is managed by a robust file management system that provides file tracking, revision control, workflow sensitive tool launching, burden planning and management reporting capabilities.

Hudson, Dave. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help



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